PARIS, July 22 (Reuters) – French in-vitro diagnostics company BioMerieux (BIOX.PA) cut its 2010 sales growth target to 6 percent from 7 percent on Thursday partly due to healthcare budget cuts in Western Europe as austerity measures take hold.
BioMerieux, which supplies systems used to diagnose infectious diseases and analyse samples, said it was sticking to its 2010 operating margin target of 17-18 percent.
In addition to healthcare budget cuts, Chief Executive Stephane Bancel also blamed the end of the H1N1 “swine flu” pandemic and the low incidence of seasonal flu for the target cut.
The company, which has a market value of 3.5 billion euros ($4.47 billion), said on Thursday that net sales for the first half of 2010 rose 6 percent year-on-year to 651 million euros.
Although growth was flat in Western Europe in the first half, with laboratories sharply cutting back on spending, regions such as the Middle East, Africa and Asia boosted sales.
BioMerieux has been expanding its innovation and international development through bolt-on acquisitions in China and partnerships with companies like Philips Electronics (PHG.AS) to develop fully automated handheld diagnostic tests for hospital use.
The company bought a 10 percent stake in U.S. human genomics company Knome in April. It signed an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) in May to develop a novel molecular test for cancer. ($1=.7838 Euro) (Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by James Regan)